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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1045-1055
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Mental Health Services
 Header Item Assisted Human Reproduction
 Header Item Transport Support Scheme
 Header Item Data Protection
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item HSE Staff

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 136 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1045-1055

Disability Services Data

 1045. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the mechanisms in place to collect and examine data regarding rates of access to healthcare services by persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16962/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

  In relation to health needs, HSE Disability Services provide personal and social supports based on the needs of the individual, rather than the provision of services based on a specific diagnosis or condition.

  The National Ability Supports System (NASS) captures information about the use and need for disability-funded services. NASS is managed by the National Health Information Systems Unit of the Health Research Board (HRB) on behalf of the Department of Health.

  The purpose of NASS is to gather service user information to aid the planning, development and organisation of HSE-funded disability services.

  All individuals who receive or require a disability-funded service due to an intellectual disability, or a persistent physical, sensory, neurological, learning, autism spectrum, and/or speech/language disability arising from disease, disorder or trauma, should be registered on NASS.

  NASS captures data on service users who are in receipt of, or who require, services funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) which are related to their disability. Certain services funded by Government departments such as Education and Social Protection may also be captured to forecast a future requirement for disability-funded services.

  Information collected on NASS will be critical to the management of disability services nationally and in ensuring the HSE understand the quantum of existing service usage and future service demand in order to plan for the provision of services to meet future needs of people with intellectual and physical and sensory disability.

  Further details about NASS can be found on the website of the Health Research Board; https://www.hrb.ie/data-collections-evidence/disability-service-use-and-need/

  The Department of Health has no direct function in relation to the provision of health and personal social services to individuals. The Department is responsible for the formulation and development of policy in respect of the provision of healthcare and support services; responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services rests with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

  In this regard, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Data

 1046. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with disabilities who were accommodated in congregated settings by gender in each HSE region in each of the years 2015 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16963/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte Almost ten years ago, the Time to Move on from Congregated Settings Report identified approximately 4,000 people with disabilities living in congregated type settings. The 2011 Report expected that decongregation could happen at a much faster pace than was actually possible.

Since 2014, the Transforming Lives Programme provides the framework for implementation and for putting policy into practice across key reports, including Time to Move on from Congregated Settings   in respect of residential centres,

  Today less than 2,000 people live in congregated settings.

  The Programme for Government – ‘Our Shared Future’ includes a commitment to continue with moving people out of old style congregated settings, into new homes within the community, with the necessary supports.

  Today, people are being supported to live lives of their choice out in the community. Several congregated settings have closed fully and many more have closed specific units within the centres.

  Thoughtful planning, capacity building work with stakeholders and sharing the learning across services is enabling meaningful person-centred planning and transitions that are sustainable.

  While the pace of change has been slow in some services, there is momentum and progress is being made.

  Budget 2021 provides for an unprecedented level of investment in disability services, with the investment of €100m for new initiatives in 2021. The increased level of funding in 2021 will enable us to build on initiatives currently underway, including the decongregation programme, with a renewed focus on assisting people to move out of congregated settings to homes in the community. The HSE has prioritised the transition of a further 144 people from congregated settings in 2021 under its Service Plan.

  As the numbers in the large settings continues to fall, the people still remaining in these services have access to better living conditions and share with fewer people

  As the specific question raised is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Mental Health Services

 1047. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with psychiatric conditions who are accommodated in congregated settings by gender in each HSE region in each of the years 2015 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16964/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Assisted Human Reproduction

 1048. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he is taking to ensure disabled persons' voices and experiences are being incorporated into the assisted human reproduction Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16965/21]

 1049. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he is taking to ensure that the ethics committee of the assisted human reproduction regulatory authority includes the voice of disabled persons when established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16966/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 1048 and 1049 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated research is ongoing by officials in my Department in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General. This comprehensive piece of legislation encompasses the regulation, for the first time, of a range of practices, including: gamete (sperm or egg) and embryo donation for AHR and research; domestic surrogacy; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of embryos; posthumous assisted reproduction; and embryo and stem cell research.

The legislation provides for the establishment of an independent regulatory authority for AHR.

The Board of the Authority will be able to establish committees to advise the Board on matters relating to its functions and membership of these committees will have the relevant experience and expertise necessary to assist the Authority in carrying out its the functions.

The Regulatory Authority will also be responsible for the development and preparation of Codes of Practice for the AHR provisions. It is envisaged Codes of Practice would provide advice and guidance on how the AHR legislation will operate on a day-to-day basis "on the ground". Under the legislation and prior to the finalisation of Codes of Practice, draft codes of practice will be published to allow a consultation process where representations can be made on the draft code. This will ensure that stakeholders, including those from the disability sector, can input into the development of the Code.

Overall, the provisions outlined within the legislation will ensure that AHR practices and related areas of research are conducted in a more consistent and standardised way and with the necessary oversight. The aim of the AHR legislation is to promote and ensure the health and safety of parents and others involved in the process while, most importantly, consideration of the welfare and best interests of children born as a result of AHR is the key principle underpinning all legislative measures in this area.

Transport Support Scheme

 1050. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the progress on introducing a transport support scheme to replace the removal of the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16967/21]

 1052. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his views on opening the motorised transport grant to new applicants until a transport support scheme is established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16969/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 1050 and 1052 together.

By way of background, two schemes, the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, were put in place in 1979 and 1968 respectively, for operation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) at a time when there was limited availability of accessible public transport. The Government decided to close these administrative schemes in 2013, on foot of the reports of the Ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 regarding the legal status of both Schemes in the context of the Equal Status Acts.

  In 2013, the Government also decided to continue payment of the monthly Mobility Allowance on an interim basis, to those who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the Scheme closed. Of the 4,700 individuals in receipt of the Mobility Allowance (€9 million per annum) when the Scheme closed in 2013, there are 3,532 people in receipt of the interim payments at March, 2021.

At the whole of Government level, the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 sets the overall framework for the equal participation of people with disabilities in society. Monitoring of the implementation of the Strategy   is being overseen by the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group which comprises key Government Departments, the National Disability Authority and the Disability Stakeholders Group.

Under the Strategy, the Department of Transport, has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of accessible public transport and is committed to the continued development of accessible public transport in recognition of the importance of such services to the lives of people with disabilities.

  Work is ongoing on the policy proposals for the provision of transport supports for people with disabilities. I intend to revert to Government with proposals in due course. Recent developments which will impact on the policy options include the following:

- The ongoing progress by the Department of Transport in providing accessible public transport nationally   and that Department's public consultation, to review active travel and public transport policy, including accessible public transport;   

- The Cost of Disability Study   currently underway which was commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as part of Budget 2019. The research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including transport costs;

- The Working Group established under Action 104 of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy by the Department of Justice and Equality which states that:- 'We will lead a review of transport supports encompassing all Government funded transport and mobility schemes for people with disabilities, to enhance the options for transport to work or employment supports for people with disabilities and will develop proposals for development of a coordinated plan for such provision. This plan will have regard to making the most efficient use of available transport resources.”   ; and

  - The review of the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme by the Department of Finance.

  Other transport supports available to persons with disabilities in the State include the Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; the Revenue Commissioners Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme; and CLÁR funding, approved by the then Minister for Rural and Community Development, to voluntary organisations providing transport for people with significant mobility issues.

Data Protection

 1051. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the data breach involving those registered for vaccination; the extent of the breach; the means by which persons impacted have been informed; the mitigation measures put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16968/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

  Question No. 1052 answered with Question No. 1050.

Departmental Funding

 1053. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the amount of funding provided by his Department or agencies under his remit annually to family resource centres; the primary funding streams in each of the years 2015 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16970/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have referred the matter to the HSE for a direct response.

Family Resource Centres

 1054. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the details of the family resource centres in County Cork which receive funding from agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16971/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have referred the matter to the HSE for a direct response.

HSE Staff

 1055. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the longest wait times experienced by HSE mental health service staff members in CHO4 to have stage 1 and stage 2 grievance hearings arranged in each of the years 2018 to 2020; the longest wait times for feedback on stage 1 and stage 2 grievance hearings among CHO4 mental health service staff members in each of the years 2018 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16972/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.


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